Whether you’re a serious runner who likes to compete and take part in marathons, or running is simply an activity you do to combat stress and stay fit, at some point, you may want to push your skills further and better your abilities. Perhaps you’ve hit a plateau, or you’ve changed your original goals and expectations. As a runner, you’ve got lots of options to try, but what that many consider is taking supplements.
Generally speaking, supplements are meant to fill gaps so that your body has everything it needs to be in peak condition. One supplement that often comes up for runners is vitamin D, but is it safe and will it help you? Let’s take a look at everything runners need to know about taking vitamin D supplements.
Why Would a Person Typically Take Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a very common supplement that people take, not just runners. It has been proven to help with the absorption of phosphorus and calcium, which in turn help to build healthy, strong bones. Vitamin D can also help reduce inflammation, prevent certain diseases from developing, and slow down bone mineral loss.
Spending time in the sun is a natural way to get a dose of vitamin D, but for many people, this isn’t possible daily. Perhaps you’re busy working, maybe it’s a cloudy day, or you just don’t tolerate the sun well. This means you’ve got to supplement in other ways either through diet or taking a vitamin D supplement.
How Does Vitamin D Benefit Runners?
Some interesting studies have been conducted that may show a correlation between vitamin D and testosterone. Vitamin D may be able to boost a person’s testosterone levels – whether naturally derived or through a vitamin D supplement.
What was interesting about the studies conducted is that during the time of year when the sun is at its peak levels (August), men were shown to have the highest amount of testosterone. Researchers took this information, broke it down further, and came to the conclusion that the common factor was vitamin D.
Why does a person’s testosterone level matter? Testosterone increases the red blood cell count in your body, which then has a positive impact on your performance. Being able to boost your testosterone in a natural and risk-free manner could transform your endurance level. If your goal is to be able to run longer, then vitamin D could help.
It May Help with Lean Mass
Another way that vitamin D can benefit runners is that it indirectly aids in building lean mass. It goes back to the notion that vitamin D may be able to trigger higher levels of testosterone. Higher testosterone can help a person develop lean mass, which is the preferred type of muscle for runners. You don’t want bulk, as this can slow you down, but building muscle is needed.
How to Pick a Vitamin D Supplement
Because it’s not always wise to rely on the sun to get your daily dose of vitamin D, it can make sense to take a supplement. This is a commonly used supplement for those looking to fill in the gaps and potentially boost testosterone. Just be sure to look for one from a reputable company/manufacturer that lists all the ingredients, and ensure you follow the dosing guidelines.
If you’re taking any sort of prescription medication, or other supplements, make sure you ask your doctor if it’s safe to add a vitamin D supplement to your routine.
If you’re on the fence about trying a vitamin D supplement and aren’t sure if it will boost your running abilities, remember that vitamin D offers a variety of benefits, so it can be worth trying.